Get ready for America’s Democracy Spring!

Summary: Are most Americans disinterested or distrustful of marching chanting mobs? History suggests that would be good news, as their role has more often been inimical than beneficial. For those ignorant of history, including the fiasco of Occupy Wall Street, Democracy Spring gives them an opportunity to feel good by marching for vaguely described political goals. Funded in part by billionaire George Soros, they want to rein in billionaires playing with politics. Yet another odd development in Campaign 2016.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

Democracy Spring

“It’s time to take mass nonviolent action on a historic scale to save our democracy. This April, in Washington, D.C., we will demand a Congress that will take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.

“The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-18th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation. Together we  can open the door to reforms previously considered impossible and reclaim our democracy. Join us!”

Got to love the crackpot reasoning that follows, a tangible demonstration of why the Left has lost most of its influence during the past fifty years.

“This spring, in the heart of the primary season, as the national election begins to take center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life will bring the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that’s impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.

“We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.

“With hundreds of patriotic Americans being sent to jail, day after day for at least a week — simply for sitting in to save our democracy — the drama in Washington will rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue onto center stage. We will focus the nation’s attention as never before on the urgency of this crisis, the existence of solutions to it, and the strength of the popular demand to enact them. We will make this election a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People as a whole or to the billionaire class alone.”

This seems vague (“existence of solutions” without details) — as if collective wishing were sufficient to accomplish a sophisticated and complex bit of political engineering. Yet again we see how far Americans will go to avoid the organizing and political reasoning that built this nation. The suffragettes, the temperance movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-War movement all had specific and clear goals. The Democracy Spring protesters want the rich to have less political influence, probably not possible unless wealth and income inequality are reversed — about which they have no specific proposals to debate. Update: Their recommendations are buried in the FAQ, a poorly considered grab-bag of ideas (some unconstitutional, some bizarrely unlikely to be passed). It’s as if the organizers pulled these together after a hour (max) searching on Google. See the comments for a discussion.

Like children, they want action. Those readers with proper educations will recognize this logic.

Tinkerbell asks if you believe in fairies

{Tinkerbell} was saying that she thought she could get well again if children believed in fairies.

Peter flung out his arms. There were no children there, and it was night time; but he addressed all who might be dreaming of the Neverland, and who were therefore nearer to him than you think: boys and girls in their nighties, and naked papooses in their baskets hung from trees.”Do you believe?” he cried.

Tink sat up in bed almost briskly to listen to her fate. She fancied she heard answers in the affirmative, and then again she wasn’t sure. “What do you think?” she asked Peter.

“If you believe,” he shouted to them, “clap your hands; don’t let Tink die.” Many clapped. Some didn’t. A few beasts hissed. The clapping stopped suddenly; as if countless mothers had rushed to their nurseries to see what on earth was happening; but already Tink was saved.

An Arab Spring for American?

Radical leftist anthropologist Maximilian Forte compares this to the protests of the Arab Spring. Since the Arab Spring led to the Arab Winter —  more authoritarianism and religious extremism — that’s a serious warning. Mobs, however labeled, can unleash powerful political forces. Worse, every side can use them. Left and Right. Democrats and Tyrants. Tit for tat, leading to a downward spiral.

For More Information

Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Trump and the New Populism, about Ways to Reform American Politics, and especially these…

  1. Lessons from the failure of Occupy Wall Street, its lasting legacy.
  2. Occupy & Tea Party are alike, both saving America through cosplay.
  3. How do protests like the TP and OWS differ from effective political action?
  4. The Million Vet March, a typical peasants’ protest. Does it portend more serious protests in our future?
  5. Why America has militarized its police and crushes protests.
  6. The protests in NYC repeat those in Ferguson, and probably will end the same – as wins for the 1%.
  7. Why don’t political protests work? What are the larger lessons from our repeated failures?

Ready for the after-action interviews


5 thoughts on “Get ready for America’s Democracy Spring!”

  1. This is simply bizarre. Funded by Soros? It is almost like it is designed to further cement the deep cultural Disengagement we are faced with now. Of course it is not that but it may serve to further the cynicism now rampant in the Politics we live with. Just “sign up”, come on down and go to jail? A Webpage?
    This is click bait stuff. Not serious people at work; as you say, collective wishing, at best. Tinker bell? Is it not enough, the circus people see now?
    Goodness. Things will need to get very bad before…..


  2. This is also from the website.

    “What exactly are we demanding that Congress do?

    Our collective demand to Congress is that it take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free & fair elections in which every American has an equal voice. We have identified at least four reform bills that are already pending before Congress as exemplary actions that can be taken. These include proposed legislation that would implement robust small-dollar citizen-funded elections, combat voter suppression, and empower citizens with universal suffrage; it will also introduce a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.

    Our proposed reform bills are the Government by the People Act, the Fair Elections now Act, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015; and the Democracy for All Amendment.

    Perhaps that makes it a bit clearer?

    1. Stephanie,

      Yes, that is clearer. Putting your goals on the FAQ seems to be what journalists call “burying the lede.” (Also, the HTML is screwed up on the list of proposals. I cleaned it up and added it your comment).

      These are specific, but poorly conceived. They suggest that Democracy Spring is, as I suggested, staging public protests before doing the hard work to craft a program.

      • The Govt by the People Act is clearly unconstitutional.
      • The Fair Election Act is a grab-bag of measures of the sort that often have unanticipated side-effects. The govt matching of small contributions is an interesting idea. but its largest effect will be to funnel still more money into elections. The results of Campaign 2016 suggest this will mostly benefit consultants & media corporations.
      • The Voting Rights Act of 2015 and Voting Empowerment Act are excellent reforms — well worth doing — but likely to have little effect on US politics.
      • The Democracy For All Amendment – essentially overturning Citizens United — is squshing a bug with a cannon. These kind of narrow constitutional amendments almost never pass. Perhaps if it included public financing of elections it would have sufficient scope to be seriously treated as an amendment. But there is little public support at this time for such a step.

      My guess is that the organizers spent an hour with google to find these. There is no supporting superstructure describing what they want to accomplish, and how these will achieve these goals.

  3. I submitted my piece on your contact form, but perhaps it is better suited here as a comment to this article. Here is it again.
    The American Spring
    by Craig Swartz

    When the Tunisian street merchant Mohamad Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010 in protest of his government’s brutality and corruption, he set in motion a series of events that rocked the Muslim world over the next several months culminating in the toppling of governments (Tunisia, Egypt), civil wars (Libya, Syria, Yemen), brutal repression (Bahrain) and some mild reforms (Jordan, Morocco). And even though Bouazizi lit the match, he wasn’t responsible for the powder keg. The explosives themselves were slowly built up over time in the form of extreme income inequality, high youth unemployment and endless intransigent autocratic government. Reaction to the uprising varied in the West and depended on whether you were just an ordinary person on the street or someone whose vocation was directly tied to the events unfolding there, such as those working in the world of finance, government and the military. This was the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 and one may argue that in 2016 the United States of America is witnessing something in its own backyard that is eerily similar to the Arab Spring and which is giving rise to our own American Spring.
    The explosive combination that set the Muslim world afire has the same key ingredients right here as well; income inequality at its highest levels, unending inner city youth unemployment and a long-standing political duopoly exercising total control over state and federal governments. There are other similarities such as inattention to crumbling infrastructures, increasing racial and religious discrimination, rising barriers to educational opportunities and the continuous militaristic responses to domestic and international crises. We may not see someone self-immolate here in the U.S. over the government’s seemingly inattentiveness to its economic irregularities and political stagnation, but there have been isolated incidents of late that strikingly mirror the desperate actions by a single person and which government leaders are frustratingly unable to explain; mass shootings by lone gunmen and suicides among veterans. And again, depending on where one sees themselves situated economically, socially and politically the reactions to all of these events are varied. There are those that simply refuse to see what all the fuss is about and vigorously maintain that piece meal and orderly changes are the appropriate response to many of the problems the U.S. faces because their overall situation has improved or maintained and they feel comfortable with the direction the U.S. government has taken. But there is at least an equal or greater number who have found themselves falling further behind financially and who are feeling desperate and want nothing more than someone to lead them.
    And that is why in the midst of this American Spring we see an increasingly toxic national political election in which the campaigns by political outsiders such as Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are giving voice to the disenfranchised electorate who has felt ignored and isolated for a generation or more by their respective political establishments. One common emotion shared by the outside forces of the left and right is an unrepentant hatred of those representing the status quo and a joined realization that if the political establishment remains in control of Congress and the White House in the near term then nothing of consequence will change for the long term either. Having said that, whatever the outcome in the upcoming elections, the underlying current of vitriol will not subside anytime soon.
    The powder keg of present-day U.S. politics was lit generations ago yet it has had a stubbornly long fuse. At various times, the political establishment on both sides of the aisle has sought to extinguish it by employing different tactics such as voter suppression, gerrymandering, endless international crises, incessant use of red herring issues such as abortion, gun control and immigration and the subliminal messaging by the mass media in tamping down such simmering emotions. However, poll after poll show that the economy ranks at the top of concerns for the ostracized left and right and their continued exclusion from it. And just as in the case of the Arab Spring wherein social media greatly assisted in the spread of the political firestorm, so it is here too in the American Spring that social media has kept alive the burning coals of rage shared by large but disparate segments of our population who only yearn to be finally heard. And if they choose to stay the course or only employ superficial and temporary fixes to the myriad problems here, then the political establishment ignores them at their peril.

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